The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is sticking to its timeline to identify the third telco player by December.
DICT Acting Sec. Eliseo Rio Jr. announced that the deadline for submission and opening of bids is on November 7.
“Considering that this has been going on since November last year and the telcos have been doing due diligence since February this is no big deal for them. So they can do it by November 7,” Rio said in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of its information campaign on the final guidelines on the selection of the new major telco player held Tuesday.
Rio said he does not see any point in delaying the selection process as most of the prospective bidders for the new major telco player have already studied the guidelines during its deliberations and assessed their capability to provide communication services. They have also expressed that the bidding should be done within this year.
He made this statement in reaction to the concern raised by Ronald Solis, former commissioner of the National Telecommunications Commission, that the timeline was “tight” for prospective bidders.
“The bidding will happen on November 7 which is more than just a month from now. There are still a lot of questions hovering over the telco industry. I have been receiving feedback that is this is not a realistic timeline. Baka pwede po nating stretch ’yung timeline by a few weeks? Masyadong masikip ang timeline (Maybe we can stretch the timeline by a few weeks? The timeline is too tight),” Solis said during the event.
Rio reiterated that the deadline for the third telco to be identified by December was made by President Rodrigo R. Duterte because of high public demand for affordable and speedy communication services in the country.
“This timeline was based on the desire of the President. In fact, his first timeline is that the 3rd telco should be awarded by March, this was not realistic that is why it dragged on. The President was not happy and mentioned this again in his SONA. The deadliest deadline he gave us is December. It is not only that we are answering to the President but to the Filipino people as well,” Rio said.
Based on the timeline set by the DICT, the memorandum circular on the selection process will be effective on October 6.
An invitation to bid will be held on October 7 wherein prospective bidders can buy bidding documents costing up to PHP1 million on October 8.
A pre-bid conference will be done on October 15. Bidders have until October 22 to submit questions while the government has until November 2 to respond to their queries.
The third telco player will be selected based on its highest committed level of service or its financial and technical capability to efficiently deliver communication services to the public based on a memorandum circular released by the DICT last September 21.
Points will be given through the following criteria: national population coverage, capital and operational expenditures and minimum average broadband speed.
Among the companies that have expressed interest to join the bidding are the Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Co., Now Corp., Converge ICT Solutions, TransPacific Broadband Group International Inc. and Easy Call Communications Philippines.
Some of the foreign investors expressing interest in the project include China Telecom, Surya Telecom of India, LG Uplus Corp. of South Korea, KDDI Corp. of Japan and Viettel Group of Vietnam.